Words Glenn Blomfield
Third instalment in the HELLBOY series of films, first two Directed by Guillermo del Toro. The visual flare of gothic graphic novel that Guillermo del Toro brought, is replaced by a bravado all things comic book. Director Neil Marshal is now taking the helm of HELLBOY, English director of films like ‘Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday, Neil Marshall, likes his Horror and action, as shown in earlier work, so it seems fitting to direct HELLBOY. This new version, is more a reboot, rather than a continuation of the old HELLBOY films. Playing HELLBOY is David Harbour who many will know him as the Sheriff from ‘Stranger Things’.
I found HELLBOY very exposition heavy, characters telling the story past and present, and whatever else we need know, it just seemed so over necessary talky. Everything about this film is louder and bombastic, the title cards slam bold on the screen. The music is like a rock concert, just sweeping you up and moving you along, this is more a comic book movie just clunking its way along its narrative. I just felt it didn’t flow, I wasn’t really getting into the movies groove, I just felt like that I missed its ride and just watching it go by. I will be the first to say I do not know the graphic novels ‘HELLBOY’ by Mike Mignola, never read any, so I am not familiar with its style and characters, my point being maybe I am missing out on a film that is more directed at ‘Hellboy’ fans who are well rehearsed in the ‘Hellboy’ universe. So I can only judge by what is on screen, and lets just say it wasn’t really winning me over.
David Harbour portrayal of ‘HELLBOY’ is grimaced fully grown adult, but acts more like a teenager, rebellious and callous, and not fully responsible of his actions. HELLBOY is a film where it loves to get carried away, there is plenty of action scenes for the sake of action scenes, lots of CGI at work, that may feel overused. To the the delight of horror gore fans, the gory blood letting and splatter is turned up a notch, is playing more for comic book style, more for the fun of it. HELLBOY feels like more like a Harry Potter film, with all its Fantasy and Magic, and fantastical characters, there is even a Wizard thrown into the mix. HELLBOY is pitted up against a villainy sorceress Witch (Milla Jokovich), she has hellbent intentions to weld HELLBOY to bring apocalypse on the world, and ‘yawn’ rule them all with their all mighty power. Not exactly gripping compelling story, as always with these comic book films it just seems an excuse and a bit lame, we always know the hero, HELLBOY in this case will not let this happen, even though the anti-hero type casting. HELLBOY is going to kick some supernatural ass to save the day.
HELLBOY new reboot film, tries in earnest to win its audience, and it just may with the hardcore HELLBOY graphic comic book fans, but they maybe to slim in the overall. HELLBOY can be a loveable rogue. I just found the overall experience a bit of clunky, jumbled mess. The sidekick characters, for example Dad (Ian McShane) and Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), just didn’t have enough weight, they kind of got lost in spectacle, for spectacle sake. It certainly is energetic filmmaking, and David Harbour does bring the fallible rogue, with charisma to the HELLBOY character, but it just isn’t an overall successful combination, well for me anyway.